John Browett Stories February 6, 2014

Former WSJ Apple reporter has a dreary take on life at Apple after Steve Jobs in this excerpt

Former WSJ Apple reporter/scoopster Yukari Iwatani Kane is coming out with a new book called Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs ($12.74 Amazon/$14.99 iBookstore). 

We’re not sure how the book reads quite yet but this excerpt of her New Yorker piece via Fortune, doesn’t take on a very optimistic tone for the company where she once had some solid sources:

When Jobs was ousted in 1985, the impact of his absence on Apple’s business was not immediately obvious. After a slow start, Macintosh sales began rising. Two years after Jobs left, Apple’s annual sales had almost doubled compared to three years earlier, and its gross profit margin was an astonishing fifty-one per cent. Outside appearances suggested that Apple hadn’t missed a beat.

Inside Apple, employees knew differently. Something had changed. “I was let down when Steve left,” Steve Scheier, a marketing manager at Apple from 1982 to 1991, recalled. “The middle managers, the directors, and the vice presidents kept the spirit alive for a long time without his infusion, but eventually you start hiring people you shouldn’t hire. You start making mistakes you shouldn’t have made.” Scheier told me that he eventually grew tired and left. The company had “become more of a business and less of a crusade.”

So what about now? Apple’s supporters point to the company’s billions of dollars in quarterly profit and its tens of billions in revenue as proof that it continues to thrive. But Apple’s employees again know differently, despite the executive team’s best efforts to preserve Jobs’s legacy. People who shouldn’t be hired are being hired (like Apple’s former retail chief, John Browett, who tried to incorporate big-box-retailer sensibilities into Apple’s refined store experience). People who shouldn’t leave are leaving, or, in the case of the mobile-software executive Scott Forstall, being fired.

Mistakes, in turn, are being made: Apple Maps was a fiasco, and ads, like the company’s short-lived Genius ads and last summer’s self-absorbed manifesto ad, have been mediocre. Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, looks pretty but is full of bugs and flaws. As for innovation, the last time Apple created something that was truly great was the original iPad, when Jobs was still alive. Although the company’s C.E.O., Tim Cook, insists otherwise, Apple seems more eager to talk about the past than about the future. Even when it refers to the future, it is more intent on showing consumers how it hasn’t changed rather than how it is evolving. The thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh—and the “1984” ad—is not just commemorative. It is a reminder of what Apple has stopped being.

It is tough to replace the legend, but hopefully this is just the pessimistic take. We’ll have more from Kane and the book as it becomes available. It debuts March 18th from HarperCollins.

John Browett Stories October 14, 2013

Burberry Group Plc CEO Angela Ahrendts At The London Stock Exchange

Apple today announced that it has finally filled the role of Senior Vice President of Retail: the Cupertino tech giant has hired Angela Ahrendts. Ahrendts is leaving her role as CEO of fashion retailer Burberry to take the top Apple retail job. Ahrendts will also lead Apple’s online stores. She will officially begin her role in Spring 2014.

You may recall Apple replaced its original Head of Retail Ron Johnson, who left for JCPenney but has since been removed from that role, with John Browett, but Browett proved not to be a good fit and was removed almost a year ago to date.

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John Browett Stories September 30, 2013

Apple hires Toronto Blue Jays assistant GM with a penchant for stats and software to manage the App Store Sports section

Apple has hired Toronto Blue Jays assistant GM Jay Sartori to manage a sports section of the App Store, according to a number of reports dating back three days (via MG Siegler). Sartori a numbers guy who can effortlessly crunch statistics according to a bio from 2011, but he also has some experience in software development. He previously created some stats software for the MLB commissioner and has a background in finance and management information systems…

John Browett Stories April 9, 2013

Cory Moll, an Apple retail employee who founded an unofficial union for Apple Store staff, is leaving the company tomorrow, having apparently resigned.

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Moll founded the ‘Apple Workers Union’ as a Facebook page and now-defunct website, describing it as “a movement of empowerment to bring change and improvement of working conditions to Apple’s retail stores” in response to what some employees felt to be low pay and limited opportunity for advancement.

Moll tweeted earlier today  that tomorrow would be his final day. In an email to 9to5Mac and others, he said: expand full story

John Browett Stories April 8, 2013

We’re all discussing this here and wondered what the wider Apple community thinks. expand full story

John Browett Stories October 18, 2012

We told you a couple weeks back that Apple plans to open its third retail store in Beijing on Oct. 20. The new Wangfujing Street store will open at 9 a.m., but Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail John Browett today gave press in Beijing a preview of the three-story location that happens to be Apple’s biggest retail store in Asia. Browett also confirmed Apple will open another store in Shenzhen.

Below, we get some shots of the new store’s 360-degree Genius Bars, three-story glass staircase, and more (courtesy of M.I.C Gadget): expand full story

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